U.S. to wrap case against drug company executives tied to opioid crisis

U.S. to wrap case against drug company executives tied to opioid crisis

FILE PHOTO: John Kapoor (R), the billionaire founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc., leaves the federal courthouse during the trial accusing Insys executives of a wide-ranging scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe an addictive opioid medication, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., March 13, 2019. Picture taken March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

BOSTON (Reuters) – The founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc put profits over patient safety by bribing doctors to prescribe an addictive fentanyl spray, fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic, a federal prosecutor said on Thursday at the end of a landmark trial.

John Kapoor, the drugmaker’s former chairman, and four colleagues are the first executives of a painkiller manufacturer to face trial for conduct that authorities say was tied to a drug abuse epidemic that kills tens of thousands of Americans each year.

Kapoor was arrested in 2017 on the same day U.S. President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. In 2017, a record 47,600 people died of opioid-related overdoses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Yeager told a federal jury in Boston in his closing argument that Kapoor sought to eliminate the risk of Insys failing after investing millions of dollars in founding it by bribing doctors to prescribe the company’s pain drug Subsys.

Yaeger said Chandler, Arizona-based Insys paid doctors to act as speakers at “bogus” events ostensibly meant to educate clinicians about Subsys, which contains fentanyl, a highly potent opioid.

“They eliminated that risk and transferred it to the patients who were prescribed that drug,” Yeager said. “Profits over patients.”

Doctors involved included those who ran “pill mills” and were under investigation, Yeager said. He said in exchange for money, doctors helped Insys exploit their patients, some of whom became addicted to Subsys, a drug meant only for treating cancer pain.

He said Kapoor also sought to defraud insurers into paying for Subsys and carried out the scheme with the help of his co-defendants, former Insys executives and managers Michael Gurry, Richard Simon, Sunrise Lee and Joseph Rowan.

But Beth Wilkinson, Kapoor’s attorney, argued that he never engaged in a racketeering conspiracy. She said Kapoor believed in Subsys’ promise and argued the patients who received it needed it to treat their pain.

“He wanted anyone who needed this medication to get it,” Wilkinson said.

She argued the prosecution’s star witnesses – former Insys Chief Executive Michael Babich and Alec Burlakoff, its ex-vice president of sales – lied about Kapoor’s role with the hope of getting lenient sentences after pleading guilty.

Wilkinson said prosecutors were ignoring those lies in hopes of convicting Kapoor.

“This story cannot be true,” Wilkinson said. “And they don’t care, because they’ve had their eye on this man and these people for years.”

Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Scott Malone, Dan Grebler and Bill Berkrot

Source: U.S. to wrap case against drug company executives tied to opioid crisis

JPMorgan Moves Into Healthcare Payments Space With InstaMed Acquisition

JPMorgan Moves Into Healthcare Payments Space With InstaMed Acquisition

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is throwing down more than $500 million to acquire healthcare technology company, InstaMed, a move the investment bank hopes can cement its place in the niche payments market.

JPMorgan said the acquisition will expand the bank’s suite of payment services designed specifically for healthcare consumers, providers, and payers and also give it an advantage in what the financial institution described as one of the fastest growing sectors.

New, niche business

“With InstaMed, we combine the strength and scale of JPMorgan Chase’s payments capabilities with a leading healthcare payments solution for consumers, providers and payers. The InstaMed team is passionate about delivering an excellent client experience with a focus on innovation, keeping data safe and secure, and simplifying the end-to-end healthcare payments process – a natural fit with our Wholesale Payments franchise,” Takis Georgakopoulos, the global head of Wholesale Payments, JPMorgan Chase, said.

News agency, Reuters reported that the deal gave JPMorgan the chance to add a new, niche business sector to its wholesale payments business, an area into which the bank has steadily expanded in recent years.

This is JPMorgan’s biggest acquisition deal since 2008, when it bought Bear Stearns and the retail banking assets of Washington Mutual.

However, JPMorgan has yet to comment on how much it is spending to acquire InstaMed. It is expects the deal will close before the end of the year.

Healthcare spending in the U.S. was estimated to be worth more than $3.5 trillion in 2017. JPMorgan pointed out that there was significant “friction and inefficiency,” with these transactions. The financial services firm is betting that, with automation, it could reap huge rewards in the health payments sector.

“Legacy approaches to bill pay, claims processing, payment collection and reconciliation, among other areas, have been slow to modernize, causing pain-points across the industry. InstaMed’s centralized platform connects healthcare consumers, providers and payers through a proprietary healthcare payments network, enabling digital payments by sharing information securely and more efficiently than in traditional payment models,” the statement announcing the acquisition said.

JPMorgan’s Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Dimon, was quoted saying healthcare is one of the “toughest, most complicated [problems], but we know there are some things we can do to make the system work better.”

What InstaMed offers

InstaMed’s selling point is that it runs a centralized platform that helps eliminate paper, making an efficient process for consumers, while also cutting collection costs. The Healthcare Dive website explained that InstaMed, which employs about 300 people, built a patented, private cloud-based platform to link healthcare consumers, providers and payers, adding that the platform streamlines “the often confusing world of medical billing and payments.”

CNBC said that following the acquisition, JPMorgan plans to embed its vast payments infrastructure into InstaMed to offer a complete solution to clients. “The business will sit within this wholesale payments division, which moves $6 trillion a day for corporations around the world. The bank will also offer InstaMed to its entire universe of clients, from huge corporations to smaller businesses, and potentially integrate it with its JPMorgan Chase bill paying apps.”

It is estimated that automating claims-related business transactions could save providers and health plans more than $11 billion annually.

In 2018, InstaMed processed almost $100 billion in healthcare payments.

InstaMed co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Marvin, said they were excited to be joining JPMorgan, saying the deal combined “one of the world’s preeminent financial institutions with the premier technology and talent in healthcare payments.”

Marvin, who will continue running InstaMed from Philadelphia, said: “Together, we will be able to invest in and expand the InstaMed Network, accelerate our consumer reach, and deepen our commitment to innovation.”

JPMorgan’s previous foray into Healthcare

The acquisition of InstaMed shows JPMorgan’s strategic focus on healthcare. At the beginning of 2018, it came together with Amazon and Berkshire to form Haven, an “independent company to address healthcare needs of their U.S. employees free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”

The Financial Times reported that the joint venture, Haven, is meant to reduce annual healthcare costs for the three groups’ roughly 1 million employees.

The idea behind the creation of Haven was that it would initially focus on technology solutions to provide the three companies’ U.S. employees with “high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.”

The InstaMed operation is separate from Haven.

The post JPMorgan Moves Into Healthcare Payments Space With InstaMed Acquisition appeared first on Healthcare Weekly.

Source: JPMorgan Moves Into Healthcare Payments Space With InstaMed Acquisition

Patients value convenience of telemedicine

Patients value convenience of telemedicine

(Reuters Health) – Patients who have real-time video visits with their primary care providers instead of in-person exams are generally satisfied with the convenience and quality of their checkups, a new study suggests.

There’s a lot about these telemedicine visits that can sound appealing: no need to get stuck in traffic on the way to the doctor; no long stretches in the waiting room before the exam; no missing half a day of work for an appointment that’s over in the blink of an eye. But research to date hasn’t offered a clear picture of how the reality of virtual visits matches up with patients’ expectations

“Prior to the current study there was very little research evidence about primary-care video visits, especially when the visits are with a patient’s own primary care providers (the ones they also visit in-person) as a part of their ongoing clinical care,” said lead study author Dr. Mary Reed of Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

Reed and colleagues surveyed 1,274 patients at Kaiser in Northern California who had a scheduled video visit with a primary care provider in autumn 2015 to see how well the technology and the medical care worked for them.

Nearly all of the participants had some previous experience using video calling, although it might have been for personal or professional meetings and not for a medical checkup. Most of them also had undergraduate or advanced degrees and more than a third had household income of more than $100,000 a year.

Patients who had to take time off from work or other responsibilities for an in-person visit reported more often that the video visit reduced their in-person visits.

There were many reasons patients cited for having video visits: 87 percent found it more convenient; 82 percent liked that they could have the video visit with their regular primary care provider; and 70 percent were not sure they needed to go see a doctor in person.

After the video exams, 93 percent of patients felt the checkup met their needs; 92 percent felt the provider was familiar with their medical history; and 90 percent were confident in the quality of their care.

In addition, 84 percent of patients who had video visits thought the experience improved their relationship with their provider.

However, 41 percent of participants said they preferred an in-person visit, 24 percent expressed concern about making their home or video visit space presentable for the checkup, and 21 percent of patients worried they might not get adequate treatment.

Overall, however, nine in ten patients said they would consider a video visit in the future, even if they didn’t go to their scheduled visit during the study.

One drawback of the study is that it’s old – the video visits happened several years ago and technology used in 2015 may look a lot different than what’s possible today. Patients in the study were also fairly affluent and educated, and it’s possible results would look different for people with lower income and education levels.

There’s also a limit to what types of medical conditions may be suitable for telemedicine checkups, said Dr. Jay Portnoy, medical director of telemedicine at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

“The most common issues dealt with include colds, rashes, behavior issues and common issues that are embarrassing such as hair loss, erectile dysfunction, birth control and so on,” Portnoy, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

Video visits still might one day replace many in-person checkups, said Dr. Michael Barnett of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

“We are a long way from that because many people prefer in-person care and technology is still a barrier for many of the sickest patients who don’t use the internet or smart phones,” Barnett, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Video visits might help health spending by avoiding unnecessary office visits, but even if they don’t the convenience and time saved from them is very valuable.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2vuUlbj Annals of Internal Medicine, online April 29, 2019.

Source: Patients value convenience of telemedicine

Doctors need to do better at talking to families about critically ill patients

Doctors need to do better at talking to families about critically ill patients

(Reuters Health) – Doctors’ conversations with families about care for critically ill patients often fail to address patients’ values and preferences, according to a study that suggests there’s plenty of room for improvements in communication.

These conversations are an essential component of so-called shared decision making, which depends on clinicians taking the time to explain the benefits and harms of treatment options and also listening to patients and families explain what they hope to gain from any interventions. When it’s done right, shared decision making improves patient satisfaction and helps ensure that care plans are designed to achieve outcomes most important to patients and families.

For the current study, researchers assessed what transpired in 244 conferences between clinicians and families of patients in acute respiratory distress and at least a 50 percent chance of dying in the hospital.

Patients were 58 years old on average and hospitalized in intensive care units (ICUs). They were unable to advocate for themselves; families had to decide what treatment to provide, and when to focus on comfort care rather than aggressive interventions.

Only 68 percent of these conferences included discussions of patients values and preferences for end of life care, researchers report in JAMA Internal Medicine. And these conferences specifically applied patients’ values to treatment decisions just 44 percent of the time.

Done right, good communication “can provide people time to say good-bye, to participate in religious or spiritual rituals, to complete items on a ‘bucket list,’ and sometimes even to die at home,” said lead study author Dr. Leslie Scheunemann of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

“It can improve symptom management, reduce suffering, and provide emotional support to families,” Scheunemann said by email. “Conversely, worse communication can contribute to patients receiving potentially burdensome treatments they would not have wanted, distract people from saying good-bye, and increase how stressful and burdensome decision-making is for families.”

In only 36 percent of the conferences did clinicians and families discuss important considerations for end-of-life care like how much patients would want to retain cognitive, physical or social functioning or the role of spirituality in their lives.

Clinicians made treatment recommendations based on patients’ preferences in just eight percent of the conferences.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how these conferences might improve shared decision making or how giving patients and families more say in their care might impact quality or patient satisfaction.

“Physicians tend to focus on making a decision about the processes of care (should we intubate? should we resuscitate?) whereas patients and families think about the outcomes of that care,” said Dr. Terri Fried of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, in an email.

“If this is not fully discussed at the time a treatment decision needs to be made in the ICU, then patients won’t receive the care that is either most likely to achieve the outcomes they want or avoid the outcomes they don’t want,” said Fried, who wrote an editorial about the study.

Patients and families may need to speak up and ask very direct questions to ensure they get the care that feels like the best choice for their specific circumstances and values, Fried advised.

“Patients (if they are able) and families (if they are making decisions on behalf of a patient) need to ask doctors to be clear on what all the reasonable choices are in any situation, and what is most likely to happen if they pursue one choice or another,” Fried said. “One strategy that is gaining in popularity is to ask physicians about the best case and worst case that could result from each choice.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2WFmzMg JAMA Internal Medicine, online April 1, 2019.

Source: Doctors need to do better at talking to families about critically ill patients

Cigna launches program to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $25/month

Cigna launches program to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $25/month

(Reuters) – Health insurer Cigna Corp on Wednesday launched a program aimed at ensuring some diabetes patients pay no more than $25 for a 30-day supply of insulin in the wake of heightened public scrutiny over soaring prices of the life-saving drug.

U.S. lawmakers have pulled up healthcare companies over rising costs of medicine, with powerful committees in Congress holding hearings in January on insulin affordability.

The annual cost of insulin for treating a type 1 diabetes patient in the United States nearly doubled to $5,705 in 2016 from $2,864 in 2012, according to a recent study.

The program will be for eligible people with diabetes in participating health plans, the company said.

Cigna, which bought pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts last year, said it was partnering with insulin manufacturers to lower copayments to $25 at the point of sale.

For users of insulin plans managed by Cigna and Express Scripts, the average out-of-pocket cost for insulin was $41.50 for a 30-day supply in 2018, the company said.

Eli Lilly last month announced plans of selling a half-price version of its popular insulin injection, Humalog.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

Source: Cigna launches program to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $25/month

U.S. Healthcare Cybersecurity Market to Reach $8.70 Billion by 2023

U.S. Healthcare Cybersecurity Market to Reach $8.70 Billion by 2023

It is now almost universally accepted that the future of healthcare lies in artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing, but with advances in technology come new vulnerabilities that are spawning the growth of the cybersecurity market.

A new report by Frost & Sullivan projects that future U.S. healthcare IT spending is expected to increase across network perimeter protection, endpoint protection, access management, public-facing properties, detecting and mitigating exploits, and managed services, driving this market toward $8.70 billion by 2023.

Frost & Sullivan said the new report “The U.S. Healthcare Cybersecurity Market. Overcoming Barriers to Adoption In the Face of Increasing Threat,” provides essential healthcare cybersecurity market tracking data as well as revenue projections through 2023. “It also presents insights into the market drivers and restraints that will shape cybersecurity spending by healthcare IT over the next five years and the three big predictions for this market.”

Drivers of growth

Frost & Sullivan digital health research manager, Mike Jude said the the healthcare market is a prime target of hackers looking for protected health information (PHI).

“The lack of cybersecurity expertise is prompting healthcare IT organizations to seek managed support, which, in turn, is accelerating the move to cloud-based computing services. To make optimum use of the opportunities, cybersecurity vendors need to develop solutions that integrate with existing healthcare IT systems and applications. The solutions must be able to accommodate and scale with new technologies such as IoT, cloud, and big data,” Jude explained.

The report forecasts that regulation such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) will drive the adoption of cybersecurity solutions. The report also notes that the need to reduce access control complexity will increase demand for integrated security solutions, while more threats will drive consumers to demand protection of their PHI.

The demand for cybersecurity expertise is beginning to drive healthcare IT to managed service providers, the report continues. It also points out that new technologies will increase demand for security solutions that can accommodate them.

The report also offers some advice for the health industry, saying that “the industry has numerous niche players that deliver specific cybersecurity solutions to address various healthcare security concerns,” and advising that “to attain additional growth, there is need to apply integrated security across the clinical workflow instead of a collection of point solutions.”

Additionally, the report advises cybersecurity providers to issue solutions that can scale to potentially thousands of devices, offer endpoint protection for mobile devices, and establish flexible approaches for the acquisition of cybersecurity suites. It also advises the incorporation of capabilities that decrease complexity and increase productivity, enabling new forms of security management such as location-based access and biometrics and addressing the budget concerns of healthcare IT by offering flexible pricing models.

However, there are some factors stalling the growth of the cybersecurity market; chief among them being budgets for IT and cybersecurity–which are not growing as fast as the threat, as noted by the Frost & Sullivan report. The report also points out that healthcare IT is fragmented and lacks a standardized security approach, which complicates security investment priorities.

Cybersecurity a priority for healthcare industry

Cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a priority item in the healthcare industry, with the 2019 HIMSS U.S. Leadership and Workforce Survey report, showing that cybersecurity, privacy and security topped a list of priorities for healthcare workers and vendor organizations.

With cyber attacks becoming more commonplace, executives in the healthcare industry are looking for ways to enhance their security. To illustrate how serious the threat is, last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that there there were more than 100 hacking or IT-related healthcare organization incidents affecting 500 or more individuals in the U.S. that year.

In addition, a report by Kaspersky Lab revealed that at least a third of healthcare workers in the U.S. and Canada said their companies had been targeted by cybercriminals and have been victim to ransomware more than once. Another report by Protenus counted 503 separate incidents in 2018, affecting nearly 15.1 million patient records. Of those, 139 involved people working inside the organization and 45 of those cases had malicious intent.

The post U.S. Healthcare Cybersecurity Market to Reach $8.70 Billion by 2023 appeared first on Healthcare Weekly.

Source: U.S. Healthcare Cybersecurity Market to Reach $8.70 Billion by 2023

U.S. charges 24 in telemedicine healthcare fraud causing $1.2 billion losses

U.S. charges 24 in telemedicine healthcare fraud causing $1.2 billion losses

(Reuters) – U.S. authorities on Tuesday said they have broken up a $1.2 billion Medicare fraud in which doctors, telemarketers and owners of medical equipment companies peddled medically unnecessary orthotic braces to hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled patients.

Authorities called the case one of the largest health care frauds ever prosecuted in the United States.

Prosecutors accused so-called durable medical equipment (DME) companies of paying kickbacks and bribes in exchange for referrals by doctors working with fraudulent telemedicine companies for back, knee, shoulder and wrist braces that patients did not need.

The scheme allegedly involved the use of call centers in the Philippines and throughout Latin America, with proceeds laundered through offshore shell companies and used to buy exotic cars, yachts and luxury real estate.

Medicare’s anti-fraud unit said it was taking action against 130 medical equipment companies that had submitted more than $1.7 billion of claims, and been paid more than $900 million.

Charges against various defendants were brought in California, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

They were announced in a joint statement from several U.S. attorneys, the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service.

“The breadth of this nationwide conspiracy should be frightening to all who rely on some form of healthcare,” IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Don Fort said in a statement. “It details broad corruption, massive amounts of greed, and systemic flaws in our healthcare system that were exploited.”

Authorities identified the largest alleged individual scheme as a $454 million fraud run by Florida residents Creaghan Harry, Lester Stockett and Elliot Loewenstern, respectively the owner, chief executive and marketing vice president of call centers and telemedicine companies.

That case is being overseen by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito in New Jersey.

Carpenito also announced charges against New Jersey residents Neal Williamsky and Nadia Levit, who own approximately 25 DME companies, over their alleged roles in a separate $150 million scheme.

Lawyers for Williamsky and Levit lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for Harry, Loewenstern and Stockett could not immediately be located, and attempts to reach those defendants by phone were unsuccessful.

HHS issued a consumer alert warning Medicare beneficiaries about scammers who might offer braces through television or radio ads, or by calling them directly.(here)

It said Medicare might deny needed braces to beneficiaries who receive unwanted or unneeded braces that are billed to Medicare now.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler

Source: U.S. charges 24 in telemedicine healthcare fraud causing $1.2 billion losses

How the Micro-Moment Movement Will Revolutionize the Consumption of Healthcare

How the Micro-Moment Movement Will Revolutionize the Consumption of Healthcare

The quest for health and wellness knowledge continues to grow; in fact, 80% of Internet users search for health-related topics online.

Accompanying the increase in searches for health information, are changes in the ways we search for that information. Specifically, more searching is conducted on mobile devices. This substantial rise in mobile connectivity has resulted in more searches at the moment of impulse – the ‘micro-moment’.

“Micromoments occur when people reflexively turn to a device – increasingly a smartphone – to act on a need [or desire] to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.” – Google

These micro-moments present a significant opportunity for those who participate in the healthcare industry. Think about these micro-moments as a way to forge deeper relationships, provide greater empowerment and, ultimately, deliver new insights to the healthcare consumer.

These “I want to learn”, “I want to do”, and “I want to buy” moments happen every day in the life of a healthcare consumer. They can occur when waiting in line for a prescription at the pharmacy, when delayed at a lab or doctor’s office, or while hanging out online via a telemedicine appointment. Serving up curated, relevant, well-timed content creates a personalized and simplified experience in an otherwise complex system during an often overwhelming healthcare journey.

Engaging visual content (such as animations and videos) presented at the right “micro-moment” has the ability to richly communicate complex topics in a more digestible form. As video continues to capture a larger share of online search results, it becomes an increasingly useful and efficient way to help consumers navigate within the healthcare ecosystem.

The key is to anticipate the needs of a healthcare consumer and deliver content at the moment a diagnosis is made, or when decisions around treatment need to be decided. As traditional face-to-face interactions with clinicians declines, patients are increasingly viewing their smartphones as personal health advisors. They expect to find answers online, as fast as possible, with little to no effort.

Delivering short bursts of knowledge to meet and anticipate patient needs during their journey of care can be used to change behavior and achieve positive health outcomes.

“I-Want-To-Know” or “What” Moment

The research phase of a healthcare consumer presents one of the greatest opportunities for healthcare providers to integrate, relevant and useful information. During this phase, the data indicate that 63 percent of healthcare consumers are looking for insight into a specific disease or medical problem and an additional 47 percent are looking for information on a particular medical treatment or procedure.

The opportunity

One emerging health trend is the use of health bots as an integrated part of healthcare workflows to improve efficiency and outcomes. Along with the use of artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning, health bots are creating personalized interactions with users.

By deep linking content into a health bot platform, video content and rich visuals can be served up to enhance the overall customer experience. Imagine that when a diabetic patient is reminded to modify his diet by making an ingredient substitution to improve insulin levels, a 20-second animation on “what is insulin resistance” could pop-up on the screen. Inserting educational content at pivotal decision points could be used to improve adherence and trigger behavioral changes.

“I-Want-To-Do” or “How” Moment

Use of video tutorials, and how-to-guides are critical at times when a patient is at home taking medications or using at-home health devices. Patients often have a hard time recalling what was communicated during a recent patient visit or telemedicine appointment, making any type of instructional content more relevant during times of actual use.

The opportunity

When my son was diagnosed with asthma, I recall getting alerted by the pharmacy via a text that his inhaler was ready to be picked up. Why not, also serve up a short 30-second video on how to use an inhaler? By deep-linking relevant health content based on pre-programmed algorithms, the pharmacy could instantly and seamlessly deliver greater value to the patient, increasing patient satisfaction while simultaneously improving compliance.

“I-Want-To-Buy” or “Which” Moment

During this phases, the healthcare consumer looks to directly compare products and value relative to pricing. Eighty-two percent of those who have smartphones will review products on their mobile devices while shopping in a store to inform their decision.

Just the other day, I went into my local retail pharmacy to purchase a blood pressure device for my father. He wanted a simple machine to check his blood pressure a few times a day. When confronted with all of the various options at the pharmacy, I was overwhelmed by the choices and realized that I was not prepared to make a selection.

The opportunity

What if the retail pharmacy had tablets in the aisle to provide customers with a touch screen to give them more information about the features to consider, and other clinical guidance to make a purchase easier, thereby improving the customer experience?


Today, patients are bombarded with false health information and overwhelmed with multiple decision points along their continuum of care. By proactively looking across all channels and assessing various customer touch points, the healthcare industry can begin to anticipate and meet patients’ informational needs. Delivering relevant, curated content at the right “micro-moments” could lead to greater patient empowerment and improve patient outcomes.

Contact Match Health – kavita@matchhealth.com

Match Health is a consumer-driven health education company focused on building content platforms to address the informational needs of consumers and bring greater awareness and access to new health innovations. The company works with clients to maximize user engagement through various digital channels by using content. Match Health has an extensive in-house media library and also co-creates new content to meet the needs of its clients. Contact kavita@matchhealth.com to create a new consumer experience through robust health content.

The post How the Micro-Moment Movement Will Revolutionize the Consumption of Healthcare appeared first on Healthcare Weekly.

Source: How the Micro-Moment Movement Will Revolutionize the Consumption of Healthcare

Fewer COPD Patients Readmitted After Video Rehabilitation, Study Says

Fewer COPD Patients Readmitted After Video Rehabilitation, Study Says

Photo source: shutterstock

Video telehealth rehabilitation reduced the rates that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) had to be readmitted within 30 days after they were hospitalized for a pulmonary exacerbation, according to a study.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in a study titled “Video Telehealth Pulmonary Rehabilitation Intervention in COPD Reduces 30-day Readmissions.”

According to the researchers, hospitalizations as a result of exacerbations in COPD patients are linked with respiratory morbidity and high healthcare costs, and accounts for nearly two-thirds of the total COPD healthcare costs. About one in five patients with COPD are readmitted within 30 days after hospital admission.

Although several hospitals have started intervention programs to lower the number of readmissions, the attempts have had minimal to modest success. However, studies have shown that pulmonary rehabilitation (multidisciplinary services aimed at improving the quality of life in patients) managed to reduce readmissions by 56%.

Consequently, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) tested the effect of a program using video telehealth rehabilitation.

The team enrolled COPD patients that were hospitalized for acute exacerbations, and identified through a daily hospital census (hospital-admitted patients). Except for specific conditions preventing them from participating in the exercises, all patients were included regardless of disease severity.

For 12 weeks, the patients attended a real-time video-conferencing intervention with 36 exercise sessions, following guidelines for conventional pulmonary rehabilitation. A physiologist provided the exercises that were based on outpatient exercise assessments, and adapted to the patient’s baseline functions.

Through the regimen, including stretching, breathing, and aerobic exercises, the goal was to reach heart rates between 60% and 80% of the maximum baseline recorded in a six-minute walk test.

Results showed a significant decrease in the 30-day all-cause readmissions among COPD patients who participated in the telehealth intervention (6.2% readmission), compared with patients who did not participate (18.1% readmission).

“Participating in an exercise program soon after hospitalization for an acute exacerbation of COPD is associated with a substantially lower readmission rate within 30 days of discharge,” Surya P. Bhatt, MD, associate professor in the division of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine at UAB, stated in a university news release written by Adam Pope.

“The video telehealth pulmonary rehabilitation program, by overcoming many barriers to early initiation of pulmonary rehabilitation, can expand access to pulmonary rehabilitation, especially for patients who live in rural areas,” Bhatt added.

Furthermore, the researcher emphasized that “by reducing COPD readmissions, this intervention has the potential to substantially reduce healthcare costs.”

Apart from COPD, the intervention approach can also be applied to the rehabilitation of patients with other chronic lung diseases. However, according to the team, the results need to be confirmed through randomized clinical trials.

Source: Fewer COPD Patients Readmitted After Video Rehabilitation, Study Says

Telemedicine – A Great Way For Hospitals To Grow Their Business in 2019

Telemedicine – A Great Way For Hospitals To Grow Their Business in 2019

Telemedicine has grown exponentially in the last few decades thanks to the digital evolution of the healthcare industry.

First mentioned in 1924 in a magazine article about the future of American medicine, it was something of a pipedream, but their predictions couldn’t have been more accurate.

Now, over 70 percent of healthcare businesses have implemented telemedicine in some way as a way of diversifying their practices and connecting with patients in a way that better suits them.

These practices are as diverse as the technology itself, with purposes of the telemedicine ranging from monitoring health conditions to online consultations, and even as a way of fulfilling medication.

These diverse uses mean thattelemedicinecan be used for growing your health business in whichever way you see fit, in a way that best suits the needs of your target audience.

If you aren’t convinced, however, continue reading, as we share the best reasons why every health business should consider upgrading to telemedicine in 2019 – and beyond!

Telemedicine Eliminates Wasted Time And Resources

Have you ever looked at your business accounts and wondered how many of the resources you pay out for are completely wasted?

Things like medications, equipment, and even physicians who spend their time working with patients that could easily look after their own health with a little help. All these expenses can lead to hefty consequences that limit the growth potential of any company. And worse yet, they increase the overall cost of healthcare delivery.

With telemedicine, however, you can introduce services that help Americans manage their conditions without leaning on your company to help them, wasting resources that could be better spend helping someone in need.

Takepersonalized mobile apps, for example, which can be used to provide someone with a daily plan that keeps them on track and alerts the business to any changes in the status of their illness.

This wouldn’t have to have an impact on your profits, either, as many people would be willing to pay for these personalized apps that provide feedback to a qualified physician.

The good news is, once these are set up, it requires very little maintenance from physicians, saving on valuable time—and expensive resources—that can now be used to treat other patients in your facility.

By implementing these strategies to grow your healthcare business, you may also be able to overhaul your planned job roles and cut some of the ones that aren’t necessarily needed.

Telemedicine Provides Hospitals With A Way To Stay Ahead Of Their Competition

The healthcare industry is extremely competitive, so you need to make sure you’re at the forefront of the market in order to stand out.

One of the great things about telemedicine is that it is exactly that – an innovative solution that is only just beginning to catch on.

While it’s easy to be scared off by the fact that 70 percent of healthcare businesses have implemented telemedicine, as mentioned further up our article, this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker.

You need to look at your competition and see what it is that they have implemented. How could you do that better?

Is there a way of integrating your in-person services and telemedicine approach that makes you stand out as a frontrunner above your competitive?

There’s bound to be a gap in your niche that has yet to be filled that you can use to overcome your competitors and stand our as a real frontrunner within your industry.

It Connects You With A Wider Audience

One problem faced by a lot of health businesses today is that they can only serve a very limited number of patients.

This tends to be those who can physically get to the premises of a clinic or hospital regularly, or at the time when they need the treatment you’re offering.

This means that if your health business is operating within a small community or somewhere where your services aren’t in big demand, you could be missing out on a lot of patients.

When70% of Americans own a smartphone, however, using telemedicine to reach your target audience has never been easier.

With this, your health business will no longer be tied into the same restraints as other companies in your local area.

Not only will you be able to find new patients who could be halfway across the country, but it also allows your healthcare business to provide more comprehensive services to your existing customers.

Lowers Overhead Costs

As a health business that relies completely on the premises they’re based in, you will have a lot of overhead costs.

Not only do you have operational costs to think about, like taxes and insurance, but there’s also things like electricity bills and rent that will possibly increase as the demand on your services does.

With telemedicine, however, the options for diversifying your health business varies so much that this doesn’t have to be the case.

With options includingvirtual realityand chatbots, you can grow your business without your overhead costs increasing.

In fact, your health business could even reduce costs by employing physicians and other medical professionals who operate from the confort of their own homes.

This would mean your hospital could increase profits, without worrying about the impact this could possibly be having on your overhead costs.


As you can see from this article, telemedicine has come a long way since its first mention in 1924. It has now become a solution to a lot of the problems faced by growing health businesses when trying to expand on their current practices.

Not only will the technology help to modernize your business for tech-savvy patients, but it also helps to save crucial costs across the board by lowering outgoing costs and preventing the waste of valuable resources.

On top of that, it will also help to grow awareness of your business, by enabling clients from across the US to access your services, instead of being limited to your current location.

With all these things to consider, it’s undeniable that telemedicine is the answer for anyone looking to grow their business and allocate money to where it really matters without compromising on patient care and satisfaction at the same time.

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Source: Telemedicine – A Great Way For Hospitals To Grow Their Business in 2019 – Healthcare Weekly